At this point, the Giants do not have a true utility infielder on the roster. Uribe fits the bill, but he's slated to start at second unless and until Freddie gets back. So, who are the short term winners? I have to think Bowker is the biggest. His recent surge makes it difficult to send him down. Particularly given Nate's inability to lock the job down. Aassuming a 12 man pitching staff - which I hate, Torres, Velez, Bowker, Posey, Ishikawa, Whiteside, Lewis and maybe even Rohlinger are the guys challenging for the 5 spots. Torres and Velez are locks. Whiteside will make it as the back-up cathcer (although he wouldn't if I had my say). I'd have Posey and Sandoval as the back-ups. I think Bowker has earned a spot and will be on the club. To send him down just because he still has an option would be pathetic (albeit consistent with how the Giants have done this in the past). That leaves one spot between Ishi. Lewis Posey and (a long shot ) Rohlinger. I think (hope) Lewis will be traded or designated. I'd take Posey over Ishi as he's more flexible and he's right handed. I just don't think there is a need for a left hander backing up Huff. I don't care how good Ishi is defensivley. Indeed, I think the Giants suffer a bit from Post JT Snow Offensive Production Days Syndrome. It is the illusion that a slick fielding first baseman is crucial, brought on by the fact that that the slick fielder is way below the ML norm for a first baseman at the plate. Let's face it the Giants haven't had a first baseman that could hit since Snow had his last productive offensive year (.2000) Since that time I suspect the Giants have had less production from the position than any team in baseball. So they "compensate" by making the absurd argument that their slick fielding first baseman wins them 3 to 4 games a season on his defense. Huff gives them a shot of having a guy their that hit with some power and drive in some runs. It will be a welcome change.
Rohlinger can play some short, so he's the long shot. But not very likely.
So if I'm right: Torres, Velez, Whiteside, Bowker and Posey. Heavy on outfielders until you consider that DeRosa and Velez can both play infield positions. The biggest problem for the Giants will be if either Renteria or Uribe get hurt. They have no other long term options at short or second. Two of the middle infielders (Renteria, Uribe and Sanchez) have to be healthy at the same time. Otherwise, big problems. And right now, I'm not counting on Sanchez until I see him on the field. His injury just seems to take longer and longer to heal. Shoulders are tricky.
Course all this changes if the Giants picks up a utility guy late this spring. I think there is a good chance Sabean will make that move.